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Tips for Using Trench Boxes Safely Trenches are fairly common in many an engineering or construction site. They’re designed for laying phone lines, pipes and several other constructions. While some are extremely shallow, others can be quite deep. Based on the soil’s quality, trench walls support themselves for a short time. An aluminum or steel trench box secures the trench walls to make it safe to work there without the risk of walls collapsing on people or equipment. Other names for trench boxes are manhole boxes, sewer boxes, tap boxes, or trench shields. Pre-installation Before excavation commences, the site must go through a complete risk assessment to check for any potential risks, the employees needed and the equipment needed. The need for additional access is also looked at.
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Then the trench needs to be looked at. How deep is it supposed to be? How big should it be? Trenches of more than 5 feet require support either from shoring, sloping, or trench box. If the trench is beyond 20 ft deep, its support needs to be done by a registered engineer. How will people access the trench? It is by steps, ladders or a ramp? The trench needs to always be safe for access by workers within 25 feet, in emergency cases. The atmosphere of the trench may also require testing for low levels of oxygen or poisonous gases. Trench boxes are made to be simple to install but it’s unsafe to stack boxes over each other.
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Looking after the trench Inspect the trench support or trench box every day for any signs of movement and damage. All staff must put on protective gear, steel-toed boots, high visibility clothing, hard hats and so on. Ensure that heavy tools and equipment is kept far away from the trench’s edge. Excavation It’s probably harder to extract a manhole box than install it due to the earth’s movement around the trench. It’s advisable to use a chain sling for extraction, using any of these three methods. Straight pull–this simply involves attaching a sling to two lifting/extraction points and lifting it out. Half pull–this is simply attaching a sling to one side of a manhole box, lifting it as much as possible, then switching the sling to the opposite side and repeating the action till the sewer box is removed. Single pull–a single chain sling leg is connected to a point of extraction or lifting and the panel corners are lifted in turns; when the manhole box moves freely, it’s removed with the straight pull. To summarize, trenches save lives. It’s legally required that they be used and they have to be planned for. As long as they’re properly maintained and used, they make work a lot safer and easier.